Monday, December 29, 2008

Downtown Roseville

Well...nothing like a stroll around the downtown area of one's own home town to reveal the obvious. I've always knew there was life beyond The Owl Club and The Main Street brewery- Bar-Dirty-Place but apparently I really had little or no idea of what all my downtown area had to offer in the way of alcoholic diversion.
Today was, and IS a Monday, a totally useless and beautiful work week day stranded between two big time holidays that generally have people totally distracted and oh-so-off their usual modes and intentions. Just my kind of a time.
So obviously it was time to explore.
First off we went to some newish Irish Pub called "The Boxing Donkey". WTF? OK I get the whole Irish pub kind of deal but what's with the bizarre name. Oh wait..that's right...I kinda like bizarre names so hey...ya I'm in.
Well... we went in and all I really see to order is a black and tan. (OK ya I pondered an Irish Car Bomb naturally) They have Guinness and Harp and little else that tells me it's an Irish Pub. I was really hoping for maybe some BelHaven or Beamish.
Bud Light, Newcastle and PBR do not a Irish Pub make.
So on to the next stop...the recently remodeled and seemingly improved Trocadero.....we walked in the door and I saw only two taps...Miller light and Budweiser. As I turned on my heel to flee in utter disgust I noticed on the wall next to the exit two Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale posters. I tentatively turned back and asked the bartender "Do you actually have some Celebration?" He assured me that he did and so we grabbed a nearby stool and ordered one. Turns out he had an entire 6-pack in stock!
The giant Bar keep tried to pour our beers for us but Terri literally ripped the bottle out of his hands when she realized he had tipped the glass and intended to present her with a perfect headless urine sample pour. Gotta love that girl. She made sure we enjoyed some I mean crown.
Next we made our way to the always lovely and hop friendly Corner Bar, Main Street Brewery, Dirty Place ...I don't know what the hell to call it.
The owner/Barkeep informed us it was happy hour until we departed so we helped ourselves to $3 pints of Dale's Pale Ale, Celebration Ale and Racer 5. Sorta in that order. The Dale's from Oskar Blues in Lyon's Colorado is a rare find in these parts and was well received.
Well...I guess that was it....The previous week we stopped in to the new trendy 'BASIC' bar and had several pints of Lagunita IPA and a semi -strange paper thin East coast wanna-be pizza that was just weird enough to be interesting.
Apparently the only old town bar we haven't hit lately is the biggest kid on the block THE ONYX CLUB. But we've been thrown out of there before so it was no big deal omitting it. I go there when I need a boilermaker...which strangely I haven't really been craving lately..... maybe next year. That's next week right?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008's IPA's of distinction

The following is a list of some of the IPA's I found during 2008 that really stood out and were basically new to me. I plan to do a more in depth description of some of these beers on the Pacific Brew News blog sometime before the end of the year. But for now here are the ones I can remember without doing too much research. I would need more Hoppy beers to do that.

21st Amendment - San Francisco CA - Hop Crisis
Alpine Brewing - Alpine CA - Nelson IPA
Auburn Ale House - Auburn CA - Isotope, Weapons Grade Double IPA
Bear Republic - Healdsburg CA - Apex IPA
Big Dog Brewing - Las Vegas NV - Dirty Dog IPA
Blackfoot Brewing - Helena MT - Single Malt IPA
Firestone Walker - Paso Robles CA - Union Jack IPA
Flat Head Lake Brewing - Woods Bay MT - Roy's Imperial India Pale Ale
Kettlehouse Brewing - Missoula MT - Double Haul IPA
Rubicon Brewing - Sacramento CA - Hop Sauce
Sacramento Brewing - Sacramento CA - Independence IPA
Schooners Grill - Antioch CA - Alpha Avalanche
Sierra Nevada - Chico CA - Torpedo
Valley Brewing - Stockton CA - Uber Hoppiness

I should also do an honorable mention to Sierra Nevada for their wet and fresh hop Harvest series that start in the spring with the Southern Harvest. In late summer they came out with the Estate Harvest and finally ended with the traditional 12th release. Great beers all.


After cooking no less than 4 turkeys over the holiday season I just couldn't face another fowl day; so I decided to create my own variation on this classic holiday dish to serve at the Official Sober Family Xmas gathering.
OK, so maybe lasagna isn't really a traditional holiday dish but since when was The Hop Hunter ever accused of being very traditional. An American Barbarian perhaps...but rarely traditional in any sense of the word.
I'm going to list the ingredients here in the opposite order that I layered them into my official sized non-stick 11"x14" lasagna pan.
The Chili I used was my own recipe but you could use whatever chili you happen to like. The fact that I had a large bowl of chili left over in my freezer from last month weighed heavy on my decision to create this new dish. New to me anyway. That and my continuing love of green Chile's, cilantro and all things cheesy.

Parmesan Cheese - covering the entire top, essentially sealing in all the other ingredients.
Chili and Mozzarella cheese
Lasagna noodles - solid across the entire pan, tight together
Chili and Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Lasagna noodles
The white layer - A mixture of ricotta/cream cheese/sour cream seasoned with Chipotle
Lasagna noodles
Chili, Mozzarella Cheese and Cilantro
Lasagna noodles
Green Chile's and Pepper jack Cheese
Lasagna noodles
Chili and Mozzarella Cheese

That's it, five layers of noodles, or go six if they'll fit. Six types of cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or so...until you can see sauce bubbling up
or the top Parmesan cheese is starting to brown.
Let it rest a minimum of 40 minutes. Do NOT cheat on the resting time....have another beer or three and'll be worth it. You won't burn off the roof of your mouth and the layers will form back together and present properly on the plate. Serve it too soon and you'll have lasagna sliding soup.

As Alton Brown would say "It's just good Eats"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday night at the OWL CLUB

Although the Deschutes 'Abyss' keg was a thing of the past... Terri and I showed up at the Owl tonight prompted by the "Help Kill the Keg" email that Bianca and Ellia sent out midday. The keg they wanted to kill was the great Mexican beer 'Tecate' .....but the important part was the 2 free tacos that came with that pint of mean Tecate.
So...ya...we showed up ...and got our taco's....sucked down a urine sample pint of Tecate and fielded a few text messages from Rick who was at Manderas.
So ya life was good. Especially good when we downed 4 pints of Racer 5 to clear that god awful stench of a bitch roast that the Tecate left in it's wake.
OK ya..maybe it isn't THAT bad ....but not nearly the beer that I'm swilling at the moment.......

What?......I gotta tell you what it is?....OK OK....2008 Big Foot from...well you know where it's from ..and if you don't you truly have no business reading this lame blog.
Party on Garth........

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another fine Thanksgiving

Saturday November 29th we staged our fifth annual 'Turkey Saturday' Soberment Friends and family holiday gathering. As usual Jeff BBQ'd a 16 pound turkey (as well as a ham) and per tradition we also oven baked a 22 pound monster bird. My Mom Lola did her usual impeccable co-ordination of all the side dishes with considerable help from Terri, Trish and Oralia.

On the rear veranda Rick, Jim and assorted other folk constructed what appears to be a fine batch of Barleywine. Thanks to Rory, Jimbo, Todd for lending a hand there. Todd was especially instrumental in keeping Tracy occupied answering his questions. Or maybe I made that part up just now ......I dunno... because I was merely an innocent (or was that insolent?) bystander sneaking off to refill my seemingly always empty pint glass with that fine Auburn Ale House IPA that Brian Ford hooked us up with. And thanks to Lisa for the worlds greatest salsa and the always entertaining Beer Geek for keeping everyone tasting three more beer varieties than they ever imagined they could.

Thanks to all that showed up and contributed...once again it was one of those days where I just know it sucked to be anywhere else.